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George Gershwin: A New Biography Paperback – August 30, 2003
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Previously, Gershwin biographers have been either hagiographic or unflattering. Hyland takes the middle of the road, and the Gershwin who emerges is both more complicated and more fascinating….This fresh and well-researched biography of one of America's great composers is highly recommended for all libraries." - Library Journal, Starred Review
"[J]oins the ranks of several fine and industrious authors who have produced estimable efforts….[w]ritten in an accessible style that addresses a wide readership….[i]s a work of significant ambition" - Book Reviews
"William G. Hyland's biography ofsongwriter and composer George Gershwin is a detailed and very thorough one….William G. Hyland's biography of George Gershwin is clearly meant to eclipse the early biographies of the songwriter and to be the definitive one. He corrects the myths and errors about Gershwin in the earlier biographies and replaces them with facts." - Magill Book Reviews
"[A]nyone curious about the new Gershwin scholarship will find this book to be an efficient starting point for further exploration." - The New York Times Book Review
"In this in-depth, well-researched biography, Hyland explores Gershwin's complex personality and his pioneering music….Hyland provides fresh insights on how Gershwin forged a link between jazz and the concert hall, new musical trends on Broadway in the 1920s, the composer's life and work in Hollywood, and his place in the pantheon of American music….Hyland explains how Gershwin became the first composer to apply popular music to classical forms and how his compositions reflected the restlessness of our country during the Jazz Age….a scrupulous portrait of a musical genius." - Booklist, Starred Review
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Top Customer Reviews
I am certainly not a Gershwin scholar, but I have read several of biographies and lots of liner notes over the years. Edward Jablonski's Gershwin books remain the best I've seen. Still, I learned some new things in Hyland's book. For instance, I don't recall hearing or reading that Gershwin intended to write a total of 24 piano préludes (presumably like Chopin's Op. 28); he did finish three and apparently had begun a fourth.Read more ›
I found Hyland's animus against the film star Paulette Goddard a bit puzzling. Is it because she was married (to Charlie Chaplin) when she conducted her affair with Gershwin? Hyland says that she is "not a reliable witness" as though this were a damning thing to say about someone's character (perhaps for a biographer it is, but for the general public? I don't know). She seems to have brought Gershwin some sexual pleasure and distraction from the illness that eventually killed him, but to hear Hyland tell it, it's almost as though her lying about dates done him in. Give a girl a break, William Hyland! Other than this lack of gallantry I enjoyed the book from beginning to end.